BERLIN (30.04.08)

The pictures illustrating my trip to Israel and Palestina are not part of the reportage I did!
As soon as the bw films processed and the editing done I will share the work with you

ReDrum: happy retangolo behind electronic drums in Haifa :)))

Some have might noticed that the posts about the recent trip to Israel and Palestine disappeared during the last days. After all we've heard from journalists and NGOs  I got scared that the security guys at airport would find the evidences to prove that I'm telling lies about the "forbidden" labs in the west bank just googleing my name. In facts almost everybody told us to prepare a lie: "if they ask where you've been never tell a muslim place". So we wanted to go for 5 days Tel Aviv, 5 Jerusalem and 5 Haifa. We were getting pretty nervous. I bought a not so beautiful israeli beer t-shirt wich I wore at 3 a.m after severel hours fighting against sleep on an airport chair. Last rehersal: "tel aviv, jeru, haifa" "tourists"... if they can prove we've been in the west bank we''ll both have to have the same lie "we went to hebron but got scared and returned to israel". If they could prove more "inch'allah". At 4 a.m we were standing in those crowded lines. We also were told that they give you a colored sticker on the passport: green ok, yellow soso... red: not good at all. A girl asked us a couple of routine questions until she saw my iranian visa. Three guys arrived. "why have you been to iran?" "why not?" by the way they were looking at me I went "ok ok no problems... i like photography and travelling and..." A couple of stickers on the bags. But they all were white. Dam'! Pass the bags through there and there, x-ray this and that. Open the bags, slowly. What's this, what's that. Thank you. Good bye. We checked in. The bags were sent. The roll films inside. The backup cds also. I got nervous. It wansn't for shure over! I mean: they didn't even  ask where we've been! So we moved on to the boarder police check. Tension in the stomach and almost falling asleep. The girl-cop there checked my passport with a big smile, put a big stamp on it an good bye. We had time to buy a duty free vodka and enter the almost empty airplane. Was that really it? That's it? The tension going through my body was telling me it was not over. But then I fall asleep. 
In berlin the police was standing all around the El Al plane with machineguns and a green kinda tank. Feeling sorry for history. A customs officer checked the vodka bottle. We are back home.

HAIFA (26.04.08)

We went to B'lin and I probably got my photographs of stonethrowing palestinians (oh yeah). But what a circus! It looks a bit set up for a kind of activist or press tourism. Of course it's important locally to the main actors. Well... let's see the pictures once home. Unfortunately my EOS1 got broken and I had to do the whole thing with my little olympus mju2 . Wich was not that bad because between teargasses or plastic bullets, stones or whatever was flying through the air, it was nice having that small and discrete camera. In the end I was very happy not beeing hurt. A cameraman got shot with those rubber shots precisely on the lense.. well he's not happy. At all. 
Today we arrived to Haifa, and we'll finally stay at Aglaia's friends home. They are Israelis and very nice and cool people. We could take a big shower, shave, get our clothes washed... it feels good! Here I have internet connection again. The good news I received via internet is that Simone, the photographer (see last post), is ok. Police got his cameras back and he had full support of the local population and authorities. He lost a bit too much of his blood (as he wrote) but now everything is ok. Wow. The bad news come from Berlin. The gallery in Berlin wrote a mail telling we will not expose anymore in may. That is really hard. I almost had tears and my stomach went bad. Yeah I am that hard ;). And if it was my own it probably wouldn't be that sad, but it's really undeserved for Aglaia. And that's how our brain unfortunately works: one bad news and everything looks gray... What happens to us is nothing compared to what we have heard those days. But still... I cannot do anything against my feelings. And: how comes about this gallery? I hope it's not about Berlin and Israel and Palestina... It's for shure again about vendibility. And that's politics too.

JAYYUS (23.04.08)

We left Hebron early in the morning, after we (Aglaia and I) spent our night in an immense appartement with roof balcony and "cheap" 1000 and 1 night forniture. Jumping from taxi to minibuses all the way up through Ramallah and Qalquiliya, passing those unesthetical check points, walking across barbwired blockades, reckless of the soldiers in the tank calling us back. It's incredible how you get used to this all and how unspectacular it is! To us now the feeling is of total security. 
But then arrived in Jayyus, a very small palestinian village, the phone rang... The last days in Hebron we met Simone, italian press photographer investing in a pretty longterm project in palestina and israel. We were told he was beaten down KO by some palestinian youngsters (become unconscious and went to hospital) and his WHOLE material was stolen!!! He was changing apprtement so he had just EVERYTHING with him: computer, hard disks, cameras... everything gone! ... ... ... 
He is ok now. But that must hurt so much. He allready got shot with plastic bullets in B'lin, was threatened heavily by israeli soldiers don't know where... 
But still we want to keep the vision of these places positive.
Later we went to a gate wich the NGOs are monitoring here in Jayyous. A desolated place. Some soldiers showed up with an enormous Hummer jeep (gift from the u s army) for opening the gate and letting the workers come back from the fields (wich belongs to them but are divided by the fence). "Who are you! (?)" - "Hello!" - "Have nottin better a do then stay here?" - "Oh I do pictures". The israeli soldiers where very young. One opened the door next me. Can I take picture? "No". "Common, just details of the hand". "Oh nice I have studied photography for three years, I love pics of the hands"  "Cool. So: can I?" "No. ... Ok I ask the commander". A kind of a white rapper walked towards me, his M16 machine gun hanging on him like a nu-metal guitarist (down somewhere between his knees and his feets). Braces. "Werare you from?". "Switzerland". "Oh you got a gun at home" "yes". "that's stupid" "mh". An old man on a donkey passes by. "We are the most moral army on the world" - "hm?" - "We use soldiers for opening the gate and let the enemy pass by". We kept on discussing. Aglaia not far away and the NGO woman next to her. He is young. Left russia as a kid for coming with his parents "back" to the "sacred land". His father says that the russians would have solved the problem with the arabs faster. He himself is scared to death by the muslims, wondering about my courage staying at their village. They all are  terrorists. After 9.11 the world is not save. Yes the Hummer jeep is a gift of the americans. "Fucking jeep, slow like a donkey, turning radius like a jet, you get litterally cooked inside... fucking jeep". Sometimes they get into the village, violent incursions against precise targets: terrorists. At least action, otherwise it's so boring. 
The conversation was ver interesting to me, really, and I had to control my words and often shut my mouth. Nobody else walked through. They closed the gate again. I took some pictures but he didn't want at all. Some more pictures of some soldier here. I'm really afraid I'm doing stupid clich├ęs I will show to nobody. But it's an imprtant experience to me, to us. Very.
Back to the NGOs place, in the village, everybody hopes there will be no raids tonight. Kids are playing outside and souvenirs of my childhood of hot summer evenings, at my parents place in ticino, come to my mind. I try to concentrate also on souvenirs of the army, for a human understaning of the soldiers point of view. This is all so fucked up. 

H1 (20.04.08)

As I thought nothing happened during the night at the school we slept in. We already got used to the weapons, soldiers, check points, heat.... The guys from the NGOs are cool. The risk is down somwhere by zero. The chance to translate things in pictures also. But here I am and here I will persist. I was told to go to B'lin, a place where EACH friday, some 50 to 200 kids riot against the wall confronting police and soldiers during one hour or two... kind of posing for the press (only the kids, but the soldiers shoot plastic instead of bullets, wich is nice also)... then they have an ice cream... and see you next week! Wich is really ugly, but for our common work it's an interesting chance : reflections about journalism. Maybe friday I'll have my mayday in B'lin instead of Berlin! And I would lie if I wouldn't be somehow proud of a good picture of a stone throwing palestinian kid in my portfolio... ;) It's just not worth a broken leg. 

As I shoot b/w film you can easily understand that the pictures related to the recent posts are souvenir snap shots and have nothing to do with my reportage.

HEBRON (19.04.08)

Hmmm what to say? It would be politics. And it wouldn't be objective. Can it be objective?
Hebron is divided in H1 and H2. Palestine and Israel, and all the settlements. 
Our first checkpoint. Then the first incredible scenes. Taking the temperature: can I shoot freely? 36 poses are gone so fast, I'm not used anymore to roll films and I always check an unexisting screen on the back of my camera... 
Long moments of talking, drinking coffee... watching videos of palestinian kids getting stones thrown at by jewisch kids after school, and always that impatiente in my legs and my head. 
We're gonna spend the night iside the empty school, probably the colons could attack it during the curfew... and we will be there in the dark trying to get some pics. Sounds exciting probably, to me a bit idiot, but it's worth the experience for shure. I really don't think it's dangerous. 
I just cannot believe that all this happens for real here and how the world looks at it. 

JERUSALEM (18.04.08)

Jerusalem is an incredible place! Walking through reminds me so much about summertime in Venice. A soldier here and then. It's hearing what really goes on tht makes your feelings go up and down (...). The separations between religions is evident, but maybe because we live in berlin it's not so impressive as I expected. Still the old city is really an awesome place and soooo beautiful!!!
Today, first day of the Shabat (my 29th birthday) I have seen THE wall for the first time. I stud there in the heat with my two cameras hanging on my red-burned neck... waiting for something moving me from inside. Again I really had to to think a lot about the theory, and translate, in my imagination, the situation in one closer to mine. I tried to do some pictures, but again nothing was realling happening inside (nor outside) of me. It's hard to me not beeing impressed by thinngs, it somehow makes me sad. On the other hand than little and apparently meaningless situations inflame my senses. Travelling is just an immense pleasure, with or without taking pictures or bringing home a "story"... 
The news we get from the West Bank, from Hebron where we will be tomorrow, are a bit different, and we are prepared for stress (no real danger). I'm expecting to face real life situations about the life here. My body wan't uderstand theory, and my brain seems to forget important things. Is that the reason for my need to do photos? To stuck ny nose into situations.

By the way Julien told me to read a book wich I really suggest to all of you, especially tohse trying to make a living out of photography. French title; L'homm
e qui voulait vivre sa vie. By Douglas Kennedy, I'm not through with it by now, but I like it!


Ever experienced the feeling of beeing at the wrong airport? It's horrible and you would like to disappear. But a taxidriver saved our trip. 
Ever stud there like an idiot remembering your iranian visa on your passport while israelis looking at it? It took some more controls and time but we finally passed all the security checks with cameras, film rolls and the whole stuff...
"Going to West Bank?" "Nooooo too dangerous! We're here for holydays at the sea!"
Now we're at Momo's hostel in tel aviv. By opening the bags we found our stuff not the way we packed it and a letter from the security guys... Normal. But strange anyway.
Yesterday  we had a beer at the sea, walking in the sand. Wow that changes from Berlin (hahaha)!
Maybe we'll move directly to Jerusalem. But if the journalist Iwould like to see here in Tel Aviv has time for me, we'll stay another night. Hope having internet soon again. CIAO

TURN THE PAGE (11.04.08)

self.  inside truck cabin (Venlo NL - Milan - Rotterdam -Venlo)  ©ralbertalli

It has been been exciting... And boring. Very normal, very unexpected. Superficial but deep. It has been human, very silent. Too intimate. Not close enough. The smell of cigarettes while getting up sometimes at 3 a.m. The beers for getting asleep, sometimes at 6 p.m. French fries, meat. Beers again. The motor still running in my head. Asphalt. The intermittence of the white lines: Hypnotic. Different countries, different people... different languages. Same places. Same faces. 
It has been so boring. I'll do it again: as soon as I can!!! :)

And now let's turn the page. And prepare for Israel!


Reinhard enjoying his sunday in Chiasso. I'll spend one week with him in his truck's cabin! 

I take a look at my "next locations" on this page and there's a feeling like "wow!" that looks like what I always dreamed of! 
Sunday I will leave berlin for going to a german truckdriver's home and then monday morning we'll leave with his truck to Holland. There he will charge and we'll drive through Europe, down to Chiasso, and finally to Italy. And back. Finally this project seems to happen!!! After all the waiting and calling... :))) I met Reinhard (the driver) in Chiasso precisely the 4th of november! It's exactly half a year ago!!!
I'll be back on saturday the 12th in the evening and on the 15th Aglaia and I got our plane to Tel Aviv. There we'll move to Jerusalem and meet several contacts, there and elsewhere, for our "photo/ fiber art" project.
We'll catch our flight back the 30.04... Probably It would be too much doing the May Day this year! (hehehe) Also because I have a wedding the third of may and we fly back to Ticino the 2nd at 6 a.m.
The 16th of may we got our exhibition "Doppio Filo" (as seen at Galleria Balmelli in Bellinzona last year) at the Abel Neue Kunst Gallerie here in Berlin Mitte, wich means a whole lot of stuff to be done... After that I'll process and edit almost one month of shooting!!! 
Now it feels like: OK! that's motivating! That looks like the life I want to live! 
It has been some strange days this last days... The "second berlin assignment" was canceled and again I had to say "no" to different swiss photo editors because they needed me in a short delay in Ticino (Switzerland), and not up here in grey Berlin. That, mixed up to my feelings, and I quick fell back into a kind of black hole... Then, as soon as the people we contacted in West Bank sent us very positive and nice anwers, and the truck driver called for "action!", I seem to defrost from my lethargy.... slowly. But certainly.
But it would be impossible to take control of your own situation without the people around you, and their precious and selfless help and support...

p.s. oh yes and then in june I'll test, during one month, photographer's life in Geneva! By the way during the soccer EM08.